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Art Deco Cameras

Ensign Selfix 220


Ensign Selfix 220
Ensign Selfix 220
Manufacturer: Houghton-Butcher
Produced: 1939
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 2¼ or
2¼ x 1⅝
No. of Images:12/16
Lens Type:Ensar Anastigmat
Focal Length:75mm
Focus Type:Variable
Focal Range:3ft - inf.
Aperture Type :Iris
Apertures :f/4.5 - f/32
Shutter Type:leaf
Shutter Speeds:T, B, I(1/25, 1/50, 1/100)
Size Open (w x h x d):97 x 143 x 115 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):97 x 143 x 42 mm

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Ensign Selfix 220 focus

The Selfix 220 is a dual format self-erecting bellows cameras, capable of providing either twelve 6x6 or sixteen 6x4.5 pictures per roll of 120. The format of the image is changed by the use of pivoting masks which swing out of the film chambers. The masks are always present on the camera and not lost. The eye-level direct viewfinder is slightly offset to the right on the top of the camera. This finder also has a mask that can be lifted off and rotated by 180 degrees to choose the viewing format. The top and bottom covers are of pressed alloy and the body is steel covered in a leatherette with fine chevron pattern.

The camera has an automatic frame counter. This can be lifted off and reversed to allow for the different number of exposures. The film is advanced until the number 1 appears in the 'ruby' window and from then onward, the frame counter is used.

The front door is opened with a button located on the bottom cover. Focusing is achieved by means of an sliding lever on the front bed inside the door under lens and shutter unit. The focus range is 3 feet to infinity. There is a scale on the focus lever which acts as a depth of field calculator. As the lever is moved, the lens moves forwards and backwards.

The lens on this camera is an Ensar 75mm f/4.5 made by Ensign itself. Another lens sometimes used is a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 75mm f/2.8. The shutter release is located on the shutter body and has a connector for a remote release cable. The shutter mechanism is not coupled to the body and film advance mechanism.

How to Use

Find the manual here:- Manual for Selfix 220. This camera takes 120 film which is readily available. The red window should be kept covered except when advancing the film to the number 1 exposure.

Shutter speeds available are 1/25s, 1/50s and 1/100s.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

Remember that the exposure guide in the camera user manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day (May to August) in the UK.

If you are not sure about the light level, err on the side of overexposure - i.e. assume the smaller f number.

Where there is a choice, a larger f number will give a larger depth of field.

For the slower speeds, you may need a tripod to stop blur through shake.

Using ISO 100/125 film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailShutter Speed (s)
with sharp edges
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/22f/16f/11
OvercastBarely visiblef/16f/11f/8
Heavy OvercastNonef/11f/8f/5.6
Open Shade